Yesterday I began hearing a noise under the hood of my 2003 VW Jetta TDI..It seems like it's coming from a belt pulley assembly, but obviously, I'm not a mechanic, so I'm not sure. The closest VW mechanic is an hour away, and I don't want to drive it if this noise is an indication of something majorly wrong. Please help!
I would be most suspicious of the alternator pulley. These are known to have issues and will at some point just come off. You may want to check out this thread on www.tdiclub.com: http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=139424
Hope that helps.
BTW you can drive the car without that belt until the battery dies, you just won't have power steering or AC.
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You didn't mention the alternator, power steering pump, or water pump. In fact, any pulley other than the crankshaft one can have a bad bearing or dry seal. Remove the belt and spin each pulley while listening for any rough noise or squeal. If it was the crankshaft, it might be time to check the oil. Start the engine with the belt off to see if it does squeal. Make sure the noise isn't coming from the radiator fan(s).
Sounds like a bad idler pulley,or belt tensioner. Most likely not water pump since the check engine light is not on. Altho it couold be the water pump and for some reason (bad sensor, burnt out light) the check engine isnt coming on. Either way it would be best to have it looked at.
Have you checked your belts? A piece of belt may have come off and been slapping under your hood, and then fell off completely. While it was slapping, your computer would have detected the slow down of pulleys etc. and caused your engine light to come on. Then when the piece broke off, everything would be back to normal. Let me know!
is it a squeal noise or what? explain more in detail. and yes the belt is directional in that it's path is designed to run in one direction only, no matter which side you put on the belt itself, the belt can be installed in one way or flip it over to the opposite side...doesn't matter, only matters if you installed it correctly on the routing of the belt. And the grooved edge is to be facing down inside the main pulley's that have grooves. If you have the smooth side down into the pulley grooves, remove teh belt and turn it inside out so that the smooth side does not ride inside the grooves of the pulleys.Sometimes, the tensioner pulley will squeal or the idler pulley will squeal when they are going out. If you are actually hearing the fan come on and off, that's normal, the fan is set up to turn on and off according to engine temperature and some cars they continue to run for a bit after ignition is turned off as well to cool the engine down. check to see if the belt is set all the way on all the pulley's it rides on and not partly off on the edge, realign as needed.
there should be a diagram for the belt somewhere under the hood of your car usually adjacent to the emission (VECI) label near the rad the belt or on the actual hood
the tensioner is automatic adjusting. using a ratchet and the proper size socket rotate the tensioner (usually anticlockwise but youll be able to tell as you turn it) to release tension and slip the belt off of the alternator pulley. be careful not to let go of the tensioner while slipping the belt off or you will hurt your fingers!